AFU: Atul Gupta benefitted from unlawful activity in Estina dairy farm

The revelation is contained in the AFU’s response to Gupta’s challenge of the preservation order of R10 million which was paid into his bank account.

A screengrab of Atul Gupta. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has identified Atul Gupta as a recipient and beneficiary of unlawful activity - but has stopped short of naming him as a suspect in the Estina dairy farm investigation.

The revelation is contained in the AFU’s response to Gupta’s challenge of the preservation order of R10 million which was paid into his bank account.

Eight suspects appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Friday in connection with the Estina scandal.

Gupta’s brother Ajay was supposed to be among the accused, he is now considered a fugitive after failing to present himself to the authorities.

AFU acting head Knorx Molelle says offenses of theft, fraud and money laundering led to substantial amounts of money being syphoned out of the Free State Agriculture Department to the Estina dairy farm project.

But he says the offenses did not stop there but rather extended to several individuals and entities who became recipients and beneficiaries of proceeds of unlawful activity.

Molelle identifies Gupta in particular as being a beneficiary of these offenses.

The unit has rejected Gupta’s claim that it failed to present evidence showing the R10 million paid into his bank account was obtained through criminal means.

Molelle says the crimes were committed in concert by a group of related individuals and entities in a planned and coordinated manner.

ATUL GUPTA DENIES RECEIVING R10 MILLION

AFU says its baffled by Gupta’s claim that he never received R10 million through the Estina dairy farm project.

The unit has now responded to Gupta’s challenge of the preservation order, which has led to the sum of money being seized in his Bank of Baroda account.

Molelle has described Gupta’s claim as bewildering.

He questions how Gupta can claim he has an interest in the funds, which have been preserved but then claim never to have received them in the first place.

The advocate refers to evidence which shows a money trail from the Free State Agriculture Department, into Estina’s bank account and then on to Gupta’s Bank of Baroda account.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)